The “Imagination Vegetable Garden” was a project started by the Tarrant County Master Gardeners to provide an educational garden for the children of Fort Worth. Now called the Children’s Vegetable Garden, the project is a joint effort between the Botanical Gardens and Imagination Celebration. Various other groups within the community contribute in different ways to the constant evolution of the Children’s Vegetable Garden.
The Children’s Vegetable Garden is a half acre plot, located in the Botanical Gardens. The area is used for educational programs that involve growing food. These programs include “Tops n’ Bottoms” for grades kindergarten through second, and the “Children’s Vegetable Garden” program for all grade levels. Each program costs $3 per student, and hosts from 12 to 48 students. Programs are available Tuesday through Friday at 10am, 11am, 12pm, and 1pm.
The “Children’s Vegetable Garden” also offers a program each growing season to the 4th grade students of FWISD. The recruitment and some of the funding for this project is provided by Imagination Celebration. Participating students visit the garden five times during the growing season. Groups keep a garden journal and learn about growing veggies from seed to harvest. The students also get to taste their harvests, and any extra food is donated to a local shelter.
This fall, East Handley and Oakhurst elementary schools have 4thgrade students participating in the program. In the middle of September the students planted radish and lettuce seeds. At the next visit, the students will observe the growing sprouts, and also learn about plant propagation using herbs from the garden. For the last day of the season the students will make pizzas with English muffins, using herbs from the garden.
The Children’s Vegetable Garden is also a great place for community members to volunteer, and learn as they work the garden. The Tarrant County Master Gardeners, TCU students, and the Eagle Scouts are some of the groups that have volunteered at the garden. Volunteers are always welcome to come and work at the Children’s Vegetable Garden by appointment.
The Children’s Vegetable Garden utilizes sustainable resources. There are two separate areas for composting on site. Large plastic containers are placed near plants, and are used as funnels to water fruit trees and blueberry plants. This technique provides a slow soaking action, which reserves water. In the winter time, the same containers are turned over and used to provide protection for blueberry plants. Bamboo taken from the Japanese Garden is used to create trellises for veggies to grow on. Old tires are stacked up and used as pots for growing a double layer of potatoes.
The Children’s Vegetable Garden is a great place for community members to learn, and contribute their gardening skills, knowledge, and abilities.
The Children’s Vegetable Garden is not open to the public.
For more information:
Education and Volunteer Coordinator- Larinda Smith, 817-871-7966, Larinda.Smith@fortworthgov.org